Preview: This week’s gig guide

Previously no stranger to Norwich, Irish folk singer Cara Dillon returns on the live circuit after taking a career break after the dramatic, premature birth of her twin sons. Plus Irish punks Flogging Molly, a solo date from hip hop poet Scroobius Pip and The King Blues.


Norwich Arts Centre, November 4

Previously no stranger to Norwich, Irish folk singer Cara Dillon took a career break after the dramatic, premature birth of her twin sons in 2006.

She returns to the Arts Centre having returned creatively refreshed with Hill Of Thieves, her fourth album, but the first release on the Charcoal label she's formed with partner Sam Lakeman.

The album has a significantly more acoustic sound than previous albums and also sees her returning to her roots with an outstanding collection of traditional songs.

She delivers some of her finest performances to date with sublime interpretations of classics such as The Parting Glass and She Moved Through The Fair, plus a fresh sounding Spencer The Rover, which features Cara's brother-in-law (and fellow ground breaker) Seth Lakeman on vocals, fiddle and tenor guitar.

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Dillon has one of those rare talents. Whether she's singing her native traditional songs of lost love and emigration, or their original compositions, you will be hard pressed to find a more emotive and captivating performer.

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UEA, November 6

This has been has been a great year for Los Angeles-based Irish-American punk rockers Flogging Molly. Fresh from a stunning set at 2011's Glastonbury, a well received new album, Speed Of Darkness, and a string of headline European festival shows, the ensemble are rounding off the year with a full UK tour.

Speed Of Darkness, the followed up to their 2008 release, Float, which went on to sell over 80,000 copies in the UK and Europe, debuted at in the top 10 both in the US and UK.

Speed Of Darkness takes a hard-nosed look at the economic collapse in the US and the direct effect it has had on everyday people.

The first single from the album, Revolution, pretty much summed up where they are this, with a biting call to protest action and rousing instrumentation whipped up into a fierce brew. It is already a firm favourite in the band's live set.

The seven-piece roots punk outfit will here be bringing mandolin, fiddle, accordion and a tin whistle vigorously to bear on more songs about drinking, heritage and, er, taxes.

Pretty good craic, as they say.

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Waterfront, November 6

Distinctively attired in trucker cap, charity shop suit and that beard, Scroobius Pip is a leading light and unmistakable face of the UK's spoken word scene and its crossover point with hip hop.

Having jacked in the role of punk-bass-player for a marginally more stable career in poetry, Scroobius Pip has been proffering his everyman polemics since. He started performing on street corners or spoken word stages, for queuing gig goers, becoming synonymous with a burgeoning post-millennial spoken word scene.

Now best known as one half of unlikely chart-bothering Duo Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip, the Essex wordsmith and blatant Edward Lear fan has left his knob-twiddler/producer buddy at home for this show — going solo to play the more hardcore-tinged musical backing to his lyrical poetry, as on debut solo album Distraction Pieces.

'The main difference is taking on a lot more of the punk and hardcore influences that I grew up with,' he explains. 'It's still rooted in hip hop and its still me rambling on but it has a slightly different edge to it.'

Support comes from B Dolan, who has been a leading light on the New York spoken word/hip hop scene for over a decade.

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Waterfront, November 7

Raucous political activists/former squat party stalwarts The King Blues return to the Waterfront to play another set of blended punk, reggae and doo wop, in their inexplicably continuing rise.

With their pure punk rock spirit, big pop melodies, skanking ska guitars, romantically infused and politically charged lyrics, the trio will have your brain thinking and your feet moving in a way that, those of certain age, haven't since The Clash last hung up their Brixton guns.

Right from the get-go The King Blues' music has defied convention. Unafraid to mix up dub bass lines, doo-wop a cappella songs, ska rhythms, Lonnie Donegan-styled skiffle, British folk and gritty poetry, theirs is a stripped-down, hot-wired one where ukuleles, acoustic guitars and melodicas feature heavily.

The band began life in 2004 performing at squat parties, pavements, car parks, political rallies and on The King Blues Sound System – a mobile PA carried on a giant tricycle that the band built, allowing them to play literally anywhere. It is punk music as it was intended — engaging, forward-thinking, all-encompassing.

They've come a surprisingly long way since with their most recent album, Punk & Poetry, having crashed into the top 40. Support comes from Crowns and Cerebral Ballzy.

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November 4

Buster James (blues/rock) — Brickmakers

Reed Me To The Villains (indie) — B2

Super Action Heroes (rock) — Blueberry

The Harvs (folk/roots) — Brewery Tap

Impulse (metal) — King Edward VII

Secondhand Blues (blues) — Walnut Tree Shades

Norwich Folk Club — Christ Church Centre

Music House: feat. Lefty + more (acoustic) — Wensum Lodge

The Rockin' Johnnies (rock'n'roll) — Gatehouse

Propaganda (indie) — The Project

In Rapture (rock/pop) — Lakenham Cock

Graham Chatt — The Nelson

Tony Cann — Perseverance

November 5

Twee Off: feat. Action Beat + more (indie) — Arts Centre

All Sorted!?!: feat. Club Smith (indie) — Epic

The Stylotones (ska/reggae) — Brickmakers

The Myrmidons (rock) — B2

Metal Lust: feat. Megadeth UK + more (tribute/metal) — Waterfront

Shake, Rattle Roll (rock'n'roll) — Arkwrights

Outhablues (blues) — The Stanley

Tickled Pink (rock/pop) — Lakenham Cock

Dr Misfit (rock) — Blueberry

Burning Crows (rock) — Boundary

Vikki H — Angel Gardens

Vic Salter — Gatehouse

Kevin Solo — Heath House

Alan Ley — Quebec Tavern

Lenny T — Royal British Legion

November 6

Rosie Vanier (pop) — The Bicycle Shop

Floating Greyhound (rock/4pm) — Boundary

Rich Buddie (jazz) — Walnut Tree Shades

Egypt (blues/rock) — King Edward VII

Blues Up Two (blues/2.30pm) — Brewery Tap

Scarybird — The Leopard

Julie Dawn — Royal British Legion

Chippy — Lakenham Cock

Celtic Session (Irish) — Gatehouse

Lee Vasey Big Band (12pm) — Brickmakers

November 7

Deaf Havana (rock) — Arts Centre

Metal Lust: feat. White Wizzard + more (metal) — Waterfront

Stookey Blues (folk) — Micawbers Tavern

Brickie Sessions (open mic) — Brickmakers

Jazz N Jam — Blueberry

Reggae In The Crypt — Bedfords

November 8

Stevie Jackson (indie/folk) — Waterfront

Matthew Who?: feat. Collider + more (charity) — Arts Centre

Partikel (jazz) — Rackheath Green Man

Live & Direct (acoustic) — Rumsey Wells

Brickie Blues Club — Brickmakers

November 9

Maverick Sabre (hip hop) — Waterfront

Pure Acoustic (open mic) — Brickmakers

November 10

Rise Against + more (rock) — UEA

Adrian Edmondson & the Bad Shepherds (folk/rock) — Waterfront

Mary Coughlan (jazz/folk) — Arts Centre

The Thinking Men (blues/jazz) — The Bicycle Shop

Electricity (blues/rock) — Rumsey Wells

Firewire (pop/rock) — Brickmakers

Quiet Stars Quintet (jazz) — Brewery Tap

Soul Power 74 — Blueberry

Dr Misfit (blues) — Walnut Tree Shades

Vagabond (pop) — Rose Tavern

Johnny Jump Band (blues/rock) — Micawbers

Mark Anthony (soul) — Beluga

Open Mic — King Edward VII

Open Mic — Garden House

Open Mic — The Wildman